WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of nearly $72 million in YouthBuild grants to support academic and occupational skill training for at-risk youth. The Parish of Rapides Police Jury in Alexandria, La., was awarded $651,845.
"The YouthBuild program has demonstrated a record of elevating the opportunities and prospects for good, middle-class jobs for thousands of young people throughout this nation," said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. “These grants reflect our shared commitment to investing in the future of our nation’s youth and the belief that those investments will yield dividends for generations to come.”
The grants range from approximately $600,000 to $1.1 million each and will fund 68 YouthBuild programs in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The programs will help nearly 4,600 young people obtain the certifications and skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Along with the programs funded today, the Labor Department now actively funds 247 YouthBuild programs around the country.
YouthBuild is a nonresidential, community-based alternative education program that provides classroom instruction and occupational skills training to at-risk individuals ages 16 to 24. The classroom training leads to a high school diploma, general education development or other state-recognized equivalency diploma. The occupational skills training component provides YouthBuild participants with industry-recognized certifications in construction or other occupations. The construction skills training component teaches valuable skills through a program to build or rehabilitate housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities.
Today’s announcement marks the second competition in which YouthBuild programs expand occupational skills training beyond construction to include in-demand industries such as health care and information technology. This expansion provides opportunities for youth to gain training, credentials and skills that lead to career fulfillment for youth who have been in the juvenile justice system, are aging out of foster care, have dropped out of high school, or are otherwise at-risk of failing to reach key educational and career milestones.
Leadership development and community service are also key elements of the YouthBuild program, helping to to ensure that the participants maintain a connection to their communities through service and volunteerism.
For more information about the Department of Labor’s YouthBuild program, visit http://www.doleta.gov/youth_services/youthbuild.cfm.